•Another Baylor recruit from State Fair, forward Tyrone Davis, allegedly received help from Vinson Metcalf, the men's assistant and the women's head coach at Hill College in Hillsboro, Texas, 30 miles north of the Baylor campus. Metcalf had played under Johnson at Oklahoma Baptist. According to the indictment, Metcalf faxed to Southeastern the answer sheet for an exam in American history, which supposedly was Davis's work. According to the indictment, Metcalf was asked by Johnson to proctor the exam, which was taken at Baylor's Ferrell Center.
The Davis test would reveal the first cracks in the scam. Baylor routinely requests the work of students whose credits are being transferred to it from junior colleges. When it appeared that Davis had correctly answered 104 out of 105 questions on the test, skeptical Baylor officials asked him to retake the exam. When he was done, he wrote, "This is not the test I took [when Metcalf was the proctor]." Davis flunked the second exam.
While the Davis episode raised some eyebrows among Baylor administrators, the scandal might not have become public were it not for Bowers. In the summer of 1993 she told then athletic director Grant Teaff and then deputy athletic director Dick Ellis (Teaff has since left Baylor, and Ellis is now in charge of the athletic program) about the alleged traffic in bogus exams and term papers and about other alleged improprieties in Johnson's program. Bowers told SI that both men instructed her to put the information in a memo but to be "vague" about it. The subsequent memo was so vague, said Bowers, that Baylor's compliance officer, Clyde Hart, asked her to elaborate. Bowers said that she then told Hart what she knew in detail, and he instructed her to put that in a memo. Johnson admits that he tipped the Waco Tribune-Herald to the existence of the memo, perhaps to brand Bowers as a quisling who was attempting to ruin Baylor basketball. Lambert's testimony to Southwest Conference investigators hit the papers, corroborating Bowers's account. Fossum read the story, and the federal investigation began.
There is clearly bad blood between Bowers and Baylor. In January 1990 she received a memo from then assistant athletic director T.C. (Skip) Cox calling attention to complaints he said that he had received about her attire. Her sartorial indiscretions are listed in a memo that would be laughable had Cox not been entirely serious (photo, above). Bowers was fired in May 1993 because, said Baylor, she was not operating her program properly, then rehired three months later. After amassing a 13-14 record in '93-94, she was fired again, this time, said the school, for not winning. Whatever Bowers's motives in going public, the information in the indictments backs up her story.
The players involved in the scandal have scattered. Lambert, who told investigators that he was given a term paper by Drummond to submit as his own at Westark, is redshirting at Oklahoma State. Marcus Thompson, who admitted that he had copied a paper, reportedly supplied by Drummond, to obtain a passing grade in a Westark English composition course, is at Murray State. He is the only player to directly connect Johnson with the scandal, having told the Houston Chronicle that Johnson entered a room when Brantley was copying test answers. When contacted by SI, Thompson would only say that on instructions from Drummond he took two correspondence courses from Southeastern.
Davis transferred to Kansas State, where he is eligible to play this year. The NCAA believed him when he told its investigators that he had no knowledge that the exam submitted for him was not his work. Ervin is at Central Oklahoma, and Malone is at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Miss; neither could be reached for comment. SI could not locate Brantley.
Johnson's three assistants have all left Waco. Gary Thomas (who is charged with six counts of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy) is the coach at Central High in Salina, Kans. Gray (two counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy) is the acting coach at Eastern High in his hometown of Louisville, but his future at the school is now uncertain. Drummond (four counts of wire fraud, three counts of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy) returned to his home in Mountainburg, Ark., and is not coaching. The Shelton State administrators, Lee and Hargrow (both two counts of wire fraud), are still in their positions. And Pratt (one count of wire fraud) is the coach at Kansas City Kansas Community College. Only Pratt has commented publicly, denying all of the allegations contained in the indictment.
No one has suggested that anyone at Southeastern was involved in the alleged scam. Indeed, it appears that someone—exactly who remains unclear—simply recognized that the Bible school represented a gold mine of academic credits. The majority of students who enroll in Southeastern correspondence courses in such disciplines as Biblical languages, Christian education, and historical theology, are pastors and church staff members. When school officials realized that an increasing number of junior college students were enrolling in the courses (one source says that college athletes at as many as 40 schools have used Southeastern credits), they were gratified, not suspicious. "Dr. [Thomas] Wilson [the school's director of continuing education] said repeatedly that he was excited that junior college students were interested in studying the Bible," says Margaret Hennesy, director of alumni and college relations at Southeastern. "We thought of this as a way to reach people with the word of God."
In the wake of the indictments Southeastern has tightened its guidelines with respect to those permitted to proctor its exams. Before the scandal an assistant coach at a junior college could qualify as "a college instructor or administrator"; now Southeastern will allow only officials of a university testing center, an academic dean's office or a registrar's office to supervise and submit its exams.
Last Saturday morning, as he cleaned out his Baylor office, the 39-year-old Johnson said, "I made some errors in judgment, but at no time have I participated in any kind of academic impropriety or irregularity."